On the 101st birthday celebrations of social reformer and a founding member of the Indian National Congress, Mahadev Ranade, B.R. Ambedkar was invited to deliver a lecture. The lecture was later published. In the Preface, Ambedkar writes how he was not keen on delivering it at all. "Addresses delivered on anniversaries of Great Men," he wrote, "...do not have much permanent value."
In the Preface, Ambedkar makes a case about why he disagrees with "Mr Gandhi" and "Mr Jinnah". He writes, "I am no worshipper of idols. I believe in breaking them." Yesterday was Ambedkar's 127th birth anniversary. The preparations, going by headlines, went thus: security beefed up, states alerted. In UP, which has the maximum recorded crimes against Dalits, the BSP celebrated like always, even the SP joined the party. BJP organised Dalit outreach programmes. Dalit leader Chandrashekhar Azad continued to languish in jail. CM Adityanath was knighted Dalit Mitra. Ambedkar - statues - found himself in a cage.
Stand Up India
In 2016, the BJP launched Stand Up India for Dalits. It lost steam, but then what's Ambedkar Jayanti for. President Ram Nath visited Mhow in MP. On April 2, Dalits had died in the state in clashes with police during protests over dilution of the SC/ST Act. In Bihar, Nitish Kumar and Ram Vilas Paswan came together in Ambedkar's name. BJP called it Social Justice Day, even as parents shuddered thinking about little Asifa. The PM inaugurated a 100-crore memorial resembling the open Constitution book. In his suicide note, Rohith Vemula had written: "I have to get 7 months of my fellowship, one lakh and seventy five thousand rupees." PM ji visited Chhattisgarh, launched Ayushman Bharat, a health Assurance scheme. Una flashed before the eyes. Vemula had signed off: "Know that I am happy dead than being alive... Jai Bheem."